What is Going On with Virginia Specifics CPE?
For many years, the Virginia Board of Accountancy(VBOA) has had a requirement that all VA CPA licensees comply with a mandatory annual 2 hour Virginia-Specific Ethics Course. That course’s content has historically been very prescriptive, including an outline of required elements.
Even so, beginning in 2015, the VBOA has appointed the Virginia Society of CPAs (VSCPA) to be the sole source for course content for the Virginia-Specific Ethics Course. Other vendors, including for profit companies, GWSCPA or accounting firms who conduct in-house training, must now:
- apply to the VBOA to become an approved sponsor authorized to provide VSCPA’s content;
- obtain pre-approval for our ethics instructors, who must now be a VA licensed CPA too;
- contract with the VSCPA to obtain one electronic copy of the course materials and then remit $25-35 pp for each attendee of our ethics courses; and,
- submit detailed evaluation data to the VBOA upon course completion.
The GWSCPA Responds
The GWSCPA Board of Governors has some concerns about this change in policy, which we outlined in a recent letter to the VBOA. Unless and until we receive a response from the VBOA indicating any changes, there are some points which will be important to be aware of if you are a VA licensee.
What You Need to Know
First, not all VA licensees are required to comply with the Virginia-Specific Ethics Course. This is not widely known, but if you are like many of our members who maintain multiple licenses, you may not be subject to the requirement. According to the 18VAC5-22-90, if you maintain another license (i.e. DC) and your principal place of business is not VA (i.e. DC), an ethics course which satisfies your DC requirement will also be accepted for VA license renewal.
If you are a licensee who is subject to the Virginia-Specific Ethics Course, you need to be proactive in ensuring that your course provider and their instructor are approved to provide the content this year. The list of approved providers can be found on the VBOA website. If your firm provides in house training, please take steps to assure your training will be accepted in accordance with this new policy.
Due to the effect this policy is likely to have on competition among providers, you may see fewer ethics CPE offerings generally, and specifically fewer live group study ethics offerings in the northern VA/DC area. Please don’t delay in getting yourself registered for VA Specific Ethics if you will need it this year. If you prefer a live course, we have another scheduled in November, and at least one more this year at our Nonprofit Symposium in early December.
As noted above, the GWSCPA is not in favor of this policy change and are hopeful that the VBOA will reconsider for 2016 Virginia-Specific Ethics Course. We will keep you apprised of any changes and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions regarding this issue at firstname.lastname@example.org